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Center for Action and Contemplation

Contemplation in Action: Week 1 Summary

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Contemplation in Action: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, June 25-Friday, June 30, 2017

I believe that learning to do compassionate acts from a contemplative foundation is the greatest art form. (Sunday)

The job of religion is to help people act effectively and compassionately from an inner centeredness and connection with God. (Monday)

If your spiritual practice doesn’t lead you to some acts of concrete caring or service, then you have every reason not to trust it. (Tuesday)

As compassion and sympathy flow out of us to any marginalized person for whatever reason, wounds are bandaged—both theirs and ours. (Wednesday)

Humanity was given three different sets of eyes, each building on the previous one. The first eye was the eye of the flesh (thought or sight), the second was the eye of reason (meditation or reflection), and the third was the intuitive eye of true understanding (contemplation). (Thursday)

Instead of presenting a guarded self to the moment, prayer stops defending or promoting its ideas and feelings, and waits for, expects, and receives guidance from Another. Prayer is about changing you, not about changing God. (Friday)


Practice: Moving from a Still Center

Action and contemplation need and feed each other. Without contemplation, our actions will be unconsciously rooted in ego. Without action, our “inner work” may be narcissistic and ineffective.

Each Saturday I offer an invitation to contemplative practice. There are many different ways to meditate or pray such as Centering Prayer, yoga, walking meditation, or simply focusing on your breath. [1] If you haven’t yet found a regular practice, I encourage you to choose one and stay with it for a while, practicing each day for as little as twenty minutes or as long as you’re able. Over time—months, years, a lifetime—contemplation gradually opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to Love as our True Self.

Each week, I also suggest a different “Gateway to Silence,” a phrase to help lead you into nondual consciousness and openness to God’s presence. You might repeat the phrase to set an intention at the beginning of your practice. Explore the words through journaling or art. Or you could choose a single word from the phrase to use as a touchstone in Centering Prayer, for example “Be” or “Move.”

As you go about your day-to-day routines, recall and return to your intention and open-hearted presence. Listen and look for ways of embodying your most loving and True Self. How are you called to move outward from your still center in ways of compassion and courage?

Gateway to Silence:
Be still and still moving.

[1] See The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society for additional contemplative practices:

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014)
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)
Richard Rohr, Near Occasions of Grace (Orbis Books: 1993)

Image Credit: The Incredulity of Thomas (detail), painted by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio between 1601 and 1602. Sanssouci Picture Gallery, Potsdam, Germany.
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